Monday, December 24, 2012

D4i-term1 - Car safety game for Himex

One of the final year modules of the University of Bradford is to work in a team (of 4-6 students) to deliver a product to a real client (with a deadline, for free).

The team that I joined is made of 6 people:
- 2 programmers.
- 3 environment artist/modellers/generalists.
- 1 animator/illustrator- me.

In this blog I have decided to (selfishly) write only about my own contributions to our projects.
This is to avoid any unconvenience on the other member's side - maybe they dont want me to say this or that. Also there is a lot to write and it's best to pick my battles when it comes to this blog. Posts are LONG as it is.Other team members have their own blogs and time to write.

We all did a BELBIN test before having permission to form a team.
My Belbin results (strengths that are also my weaknesses according to the test) gave out the impression that I am good at:

The Belbin team report had this to say for my role in the team:
"should do most of the problem solving or be responsible for coming up with any new
ideas and suggesting solutions to the rest of the team."

My technical role in the team is Illustrator,Animator, Character modelling.

As a start, my job was to design a T-shirt picture to be used to present our team.The idea of the shirt and branding is by the whole team :
I did this with inkscape, as usual. There was a limitation of the number of colours for printing

Produced a number of variations for the rest of the team to vote on. The catch phrases and the name (like a sir) were some of the other team member's ideas. We tend to end most of our presentations with a bad pun joke involving cheese. it's important to leave a smile there.
I was team leader during Term one, but I asked to step down from that position and focus on animation for term two. Leading a team can become stressful - I dont have the time and energy to do a great job at it, while also contributing so much to development. It doesnt really give you any power if thats what you think - a good team leader shouldn't force ideas but rather keep people on topic during the meetings, keep everyone heard and make sure that everyone is on track and knows what they're doing.

What the experience taught me is that a group leader is someone who is passionate about and good at organising other people. Someone who constantly keeps motivating others and reminds them where they should be at a given moment with their work.
So it was a tough job ,especially when there is no office place and everyone is just juggling with uni work.
In industry that person who organises things would be the producer. He or she would elect who should be in charge of what and keep everyone in line, keep communication between the people and so on.
Not a job for the ideas person.
The group leader should not be personally biased by ideas, but should make decisions based on what's best for the project and sometimes what would keep everyone happy.

There is also a lot of infrastructure organisation  that I really am not good at and other team members did instead of me.

So each term has one project. The project in term one was to deliver a game pitch to HIMEX - a car insurance company- for a game that brings awareness about car accidents. The target audience is young drivers. Teens. This is the client's brief.

Everyone in the team proposed a game idea. This is what I proposed initially - two ideas.
They were fed into a team discussion and everyone from the team added some really great ideas to make it more fun.
We decided that an IOS game will need simpler contros. I pitched for a pacman like design where the car moves indefinetelly by default and you turn left and right by timing your tap at the turns.

This is the second presentation we made...
Everyone had a say what goes on each slide, but we divided who does and presents each slide in the 15 minute slot.
The slides that are in GREY are the ones that I mostly worked on.They are half arsed because of me.

For the final presentation, we used Prezi.
I didnt do a lot on it, but gather images.Some things were changed for the game pitch, based on the team's decisions, a public questionaire of the target audience (over 80 people) and the client's feedback from the last presentation.A number of new devices were added to the game idea and some designs were removed.I presented the game pitch slide only.

The presentation was a success. The client just gave us a lot of praise and no critical feedback(alas).
It's in no way a complete design document and does have it's quirks, but what went in there as a pitch really left Himex impressed and "inspired" to make a game.

However, we are not going to be developing this game for Himex, because we already have Team 17 as a client for term2's design for industry project. But let's leave that for other posts when the subject has matured enough..:)

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